It’s not just Netflix, Spotify and YouTube that don’t have apps for Apple’s Vision Pro at launch. New data suggests that the new mixed reality headset has gotten a poor response from app developers so far. According to AppFigures, as of this weekend, there are only about 150 apps in the App Store for the AR/VR device that have been explicitly updated for the Vision Pro. That’s just a fraction of the 1.8 million apps in the App Store.
It’s not the total number of apps available. The Vision Pro headset is theoretically compatible with iOS and iPad apps, unless the developer opts out. But it’s telling how many companies have started creating apps specifically for the new platform. Considering the size of Apple’s developer base, that’s pretty small.
There are several reasons why developers may not be in a hurry to refine or create new apps for Apple’s latest platform. Among them are the limited number of Vision Pro headsets to test and the realization that the market opportunity for their apps may be small for a while, thanks to the high price of the device – starting at $3,499 and up, depending on storage capacity. Developers may also have difficulty translating their applications optimized for small touchscreens to a different computing environment.
However, the negative sentiment that Apple has generated among developers after Epic Games filed an antitrust lawsuit against the tech giant cannot be discounted. While Apple largely won the case as the court did not recognize it as a monopoly, it did require Apple to change the App Store rules to allow developers to point to other ways of acquiring subscriptions and purchases through their own sites. Apple rather cynically complied with this ruling, adding a number of other caveats and guidelines regarding who could apply for this “exception” to the App Store rules and how the link should be implemented in their apps, right down to the language developers could use.
The company also said it would only reduce fees to 27% from 30%, which makes this opportunity unaffordable for many app developers, given that credit card processing fees can be even higher than the 3% discount.
This developer hostility could have a chilling effect on Apple’s developer community, a community that previously rushed to utilize Apple’s new platforms despite diminishing returns. For example, Apple’s iMessage App Store never fully launched, facing discovery issues. Meanwhile, there have been several high-profile departures since the launch of the watchOS app store, including the removal of top apps from Meta*, Slack, Uber, and Twitter.
With the introduction of Vision Pro, Apple’s competitors such as YouTube, Netflix and Spotify have decided to stop creating apps for Apple’s latest platform as the Cupertino-based tech giant increasingly competes in their markets with their own video and music streaming services. Meta, which makes its own virtual reality headset, has surprisingly also decided not to create native apps for Vision Pro, AppFigures reports.
That doesn’t mean Vision Pro users won’t have anything to do with their new headset at launch. Apple said the Vision Pro will allow users to download and stream content from Disney+, ESPN, MLB, PGA Tour, Max, Discovery+, Amazon Prime Video, Paramount+, Peacock, Pluto TV, Tubi, Fubo, Crunchyroll, Red Bull TV, IMAX, TikTok and MUBI. Apple’s own apps are also available, as well as apps you know like Temu, Uber/Uber Eats, Tinder, Notion, CNN, Washington Post, Reddit, Discord, and more.
In addition, AppFigures discovered several other big brands and popular apps that were created specifically for Vision Pro, including Box, Carrot Weather, Webex, Zoom, Fantastical, and others. However, many of them are not well known.
According to AppFigures, several other apps have been abandoned, meaning they don’t have a “compatible” flag. These apps include Facebook*, Instagram*, Messenger, WhatsApp, Spotify, YouTube, Google Drive, Gmail, Google Meet, Chrome, Google Home, Roku, Pandora, DoorDash, Amazon, Candy Crush, Bumble, Nike, Nest, and others.
Apple has informed developers that their existing iPhone and iPad apps will be available to Vision Pro users automatically unless the developer edits the availability of their apps in App Store Connect. It’s likely that many app developers will simply allow their existing apps to be ported until Vision Pro gains a large enough user base to merit the extra attention.
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